Geisinger and Merck unveil EHR-embedded apps for medication management, care coordination

Geisinger Health System faciliity
In the last month, Geisinger has released apps in partnership with two different pharmaceutical companies. (Geisinger Health System)

Six years after announcing their new partnership, Geisinger Health System and Merck are releasing two new web-based apps aimed at improving medication adherence and care coordination. 

The first, called the Family Caregiver Application, creates two-way communication between patients and clinicians. The second, known as MedTrue, pulls information from various data sources to assist patients and providers with medication adherence and reconciliation.

Both apps were built using SMART on FHIR open-standards technology to allow data collection from multiple EHR platforms. The apps can also be embedded directly into the EHR.

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"We know from prior work that about 70% of our medication lists are inaccurate, and these inaccuracies can lead to medical errors," Mike Evans, vice president of enterprise pharmacy and chief pharmacy officer for Geisinger, said in a statement. "The MedTrue application provides an interface that seeks to clean up medication lists, so patients and providers can be on the same page regarding medication use and better care decisions can be made."

The companies pilot-tested the Family Caregiver Application with oncology patients assisting with treatment appointments and a medication scheduler. The next phase will focus on real-world experience studies to measure each app’s effectiveness and actively exploring commercialization with other stakeholders.

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Geisinger and Merck first launched their partnership in 2012 focusing on solutions that would provide shared decision making and improve adherence to treatment plans. It’s not the only drugmaker Geisinger has engaged with. Last month, the health system released a suite of asthma apps in partnership with AstraZeneca in another attempt to improve care coordination between patients and physicians.

Last year, the Pennsylvania system announced it was partnering with Purdue Pharma, a drugmaker embroiled in litigation over its marketing of OxyContin that many have blamed for the national opioid crisis. Geisinger agreed to team up with the pharmaceutical company to study a mobile app that allows patients with chronic pain to send information to their physician through an iPhone or Apple Watch.